Ikkako Kathanar -the forgotten martyr
Jul01

Ikkako Kathanar -the forgotten martyr

1.Introduction Ikkako Kathanar -the forgotten martyr: Centuries before, an incident shook both the land of Malabar and the Saint Thomas Christian community; the murder of one of their priests, Ikkako Kathanar, by European missionaries at the church in Verapoly (Varappuzha).This incident in 1771 AD resulted in long ramification in the turbulent history of the ancient community of Saint Thomas Christians whose existence was threatened by the colonisation of the Malabar Coast of south-west India by European powers beginning with the Portuguese. 2.History sets in The Saint Thomas Christians, locally known as Mar Thoma Nasranis, Suriyani Nasranis, Syrian Christians or simply Nasranis trace their origin to the missionary works of Saint Thomas the Apostle, who in Aramaic (East-Syriac) is known as Mar Thoma Sleeha. This community of Christians that existed in many parts of India were eventually restricted to the south-west Malabar Coast of India, encompassing the modern state of Kerala and nearby regions. They followed the ancient Aramaic (East-Syriac) tradition in worship and Aramaic was their liturgical language. Aramaic was the language of Jesus Christ and His disciples as well. The Nasranis were profoundly attached to the Aramaic (East-Syriac) language and their Aramaic heritage.1The Nasranis were a fiercely independent community under its head who was known as the Archdeacon (Jathikku Karthavyan) and he held the title of ‘Archdeacon and Gate of All India’. The Archdeacon also commandeered an army of his own. Each church had its own church assembly consisting of priests and laymen. The Archdeacon was guided by a General Assembly, known as the Palli-Yogam, consisting of both priests and laymen representing all churches. European missionaries marvelled at this and called the community as a Christian Republic.2Geographically, the Nasranis were located in territories ruled by local Hindu kings and vassals and ecclesiastically they were part of the (East-Syriac) Church of the East which sent Bishops from Babylon and Persia. The bishops for the most part exercised the power of order only and the Nasranis lived a peaceful community life for centuries this way.But things were about to change for them soon with the advent of the Portuguese Vasco da Gama in 1498.The Portuguese who arrived in the dawn of the 16th century attempted to forcefully westernise the Nasrani community and bring them under their political and ecclesiastical authority.These attempts culminated in the so-called Synod at Diamper (Udayamperoor) in 1599 and the Nasranis were placed under the authority of the Portuguese Padroado. The Padroado was an agreement between the kingdom of Portugal and the Roman Catholic Church according to which Rome delegated the administration of local churches to the kingdom (later republic) of Portugal. The king (or queen) of...

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Thomas-Malabar Connection & The Jewish Heritage, A Biblical & Analytical Approach
Dec30

Thomas-Malabar Connection & The Jewish Heritage, A Biblical & Analytical Approach

Introduction  This short article is an attempt to view the Thomas tradition from a Biblical perspective with an analytical lens. Hence this should not be treated as a stand-alone article but must be read in conjunction with other historical information which are not stressed or cited in here.  I. Why is it so Difficult to Believe in Thomas-Malabar Connection  The apostle Thomas found it difficult to believe the Resurrection of his Master from death until he saw Him personally. Today modern “scholars” find it even more difficult to believe in the apostleship of Thomas to Kerala. Why is it so difficult to believe in the Kerala Christianity as started from the first century? Even today after so many archeological evidences have come up to corroborate the Middle East connection of Malabar Coast from the BC period, so many skeptics still adamantly deny this historical fact as hoax.  It is true that tradition as such is not to be trusted unless otherwise proved to be fact supported by the other branches of knowledge. In this article I try to see the Thomas tradition analytically from the point of view of the foundation of all knowledge; the Bible. The Biblical historical facts together with the latest archeological evidences strongly point to the Thomas tradition as a fact.   When the Problem Started? It has become a modern scholarly fashion to deny anything and everything in the fields of literature and history. This tendency takes the force of a tornado when it comes to religion and Bible. Whatever was established as absolute truth in the past centuries have become suddenly the object of much disputation and doubts. Hence we hear great scholars claiming that Moses never existed, Joshua never existed, Isaiah never existed, Hittites never existed, gospels were not written by the apostles etc, etc.  Even in modern times one hears that Shakespeare never wrote the plays which are credited to his name throughout the previous centuries! This is the modern scholarship! When one considers this “modern” phenomenon, one gets to know the real cause BEHIND this development and can pinpoint it as ……the theory of evolution!! Yes, it has revolutionized the modern scholarship so thoroughly that today whoever opposes this “theory” is considered as “uneducated”.  This theory (which works BEHIND the modern scholarship) in history and literature goes something like this: that the modern human beings are at the latest stage of advanced evolutionary spectrum and the ancient people were not as “evolved” as we are in intellectual faculty and hence we cannot depend on their statements and historical records.  In the Biblical textual criticism, one scholar named Julius Wellhausen changed all the previously held concepts....

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